Thursday 22 February 2018

We walk the plank to keep their bubble afloat

It is becoming clearer all the time that anything will be sacrificed rather than public sector jobs and wages, despairs Brendan O'Connor

The 28 residents of the Abbeyleix Community Nursing Unit do not want to leave it. "This is our home," one said bluntly. But they are being, they say, bullied into leaving because the Government does not have the money to keep their home open.

We all hope that when we hit our 80s and 90s, and when we have worked all our lives making some sort of contribution to society, that we would have somewhere to call home. Ideally we would all like to die in our own beds, but if that's not possible, wouldn't it be nice to think that you would be somewhere that you would come to regard as home? The HSE wants to take that last bit of comfort and security in their last years on earth away from the residents of the Abbeyleix Nursing Home.

Brian Cowen can be reasonably sure he will never end up anywhere like the Abbeyleix Nursing Home. Every single day, for the rest of his life, Cowen will get nearly €500 from the taxpayer. At 51, Cowen has done his duty for the State. While the rest of us will be forced to work up to the age of 70 so we can afford a good nursing home, Cowen, if he wishes, can hang up his boots now and live off his €151,000 a year. If he lives as long as some of the people in the Abbeyleix nursing home, Cowen could collect that pension for over 40 years. He could collect that pension for much longer than he ever worked for. Bertie Ahern will get a similar wedge of €3,000 a week as long as he lives. Ray Burke, on the other hand, will have to make do on a more modest €2,000 a week.

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